How Do You Strengthen A Retaining Wall?

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How Do You Strengthen A Retaining Wall?

Fixing a receding or sinking retaining wall may require removing the old wall, pouring new concrete in its place, and rebuilding the foundation. A more intensive adjustment to make is “Retaining Wall Retrofit” which involves digging it up completely over the existing foundation (altering about 12 inches of soil), installing changes like rock anchoring systems and stronger support beams with metal brackets and screws. For the average homeowner, it’s usually best to get a professional opinion on this problem before making any additional adjustments.

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your retaining wall, please call one of our specialists today!

The wall’s foundation can be extended or thickened with concrete to better resist shear forces. Extending the base’s footing or adding concrete to thicken the base are two methods for doing so. Using anchors or tiebacks for extra strength is another possibility.

Use rebar that is 12 inches taller than the wall’s height. Place one of the rebar poles in front of the brick and make it flush with it. Hammer the rebar into the earth until it is level with the top of the retaining wall. Place one piece of rebar every foot. Repeat the process on the backside of the wall.

Use a tape measure to mark a line on each pole at a height that is two inches taller than half of your retaining wall’s height. Connect all of these lines with a ruler and use the carbon paper to transfer the line onto your concrete poles.

Pour concrete into each pole until they are even with your drawing and let them dry overnight before continuing.

As you remove every other layer, take care not to disturb what remains so that your brick pattern stays intact. Place new layers in between the existing ones so that they look like one solid retaining wall instead of bricks stacked next to each other and mortar in between them. If done correctly, it should be difficult for people to notice the new layers and your wall should hold up for years to come!

Step 1: Site Prep and Excavation

Foundation soils at the bottom of the base trench must be strong and hard. Remove any whole material if the soil is heavy clay, wet earth, or has been previously excavated to provide a solid foundation.

  • Remove all surface vegetation and organic soils from the area. This material should not be used as a backfill due to its toxicity.
  • To fit the geo-grid’s design length, excavate behind the wall. The exact length should be checked against the approved plans.
  • Excavate a base trench at the wall site as directed in the plans. Dig a trench at least 24 inches (610 mm) wide and 6 inches (150 mm) deep, as well as the necessary space for the buried block, according to the approved blueprints
  • A 1-by-6-by-1.5 board should be at least 6 inches (150 mm) long, but no more than 1 inch (25 mm) longer than the wall it will cover. It should be a minimum of 6 inches (150 mm) deep. For exact quantities, see the approved plans.
  • Level and flat excavated base trench to 95% of the Standard Proctor

Step 2: Install Base Material

Any compatible granular material may be used as the foundation. A well-graded aggregate with a balanced blend of grain sizes, ranging from 0.25 in. to 1.5 in. (6 mm to 38 mm) diameter, is advised by Allan Block.

  • Place drain pipe along the length of the wall in accordance with the authorized plans. The drain pipe must be vented to daylight or a storm sewer system, per plans. See approved plans for further information and guidelines.
  • Place at least 6 in. (150 mm) of base material in the base trench and smooth it with a rake, as directed.
  • Compact with a mechanical plate compactor
  • Check the entire length for level and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 3: Install Base Course

  • Begin at the bottom of the lowest wall.
  • Place all of the units top side up, with the raised front lip facing upwards and in the middle of the base material.
  • Check the blocks for level and alignment. Check the block for level on a regular basis from side to side and front to back. Examine the right place of each AB unit by using a string line across the blocks or looking down their raised front lip.
  • Tap the AB units with a dead blow hammer or lay up to 0.5 in. (13 mm) of coarse sand beneath them for smaller adjustments.
  • As the wall layers up, irregularities in the base course grow. A straight and level foundation is crucial for a high-quality completed wall.

Step 4: Install Wall Rock and Backfill Material

  • Fill the bottom core of the base course with wall rock and 12 inches (300 mm) behind the block. A compatible aggregate with a diameter of 0.25 to 1.5 inches (6 to 38 mm), less than 10% fines, and a compaction factor between 60 and 100 is suggested.
  • Backfill the area behind the wall rock and in front of the base course with approved infill soil.

Step 5: Compact

Compacting the material behind the block is required for a high-quality retaining wall.

  • After tamping down the backfill material, use a mechanical plate compactor to compact the wall rock. Then, in a row parallel to the retaining wall, press the earth immediately behind the block.
  • Check for a safe surface and make any required adjustments.
  • Backfill soil must be compacted to at least 95 percent Standard Proctor in order to maintain stability. Compacting soil with equipment that isn’t suited for the soil being compacted might result in compaction loss, which may result in extra expense and time.
  • Remove everything that is not needed from the top of each AB unit. This ensures a smooth surface for laying down the following course. It may be easier to slide the block into position as you set up the next course while it’s still on the previous one.
  • Following each block, the pavement and foundation must be compacted. On the block, compaction is necessary after the first course.

Step 6: Install Geogrid

Refer to the layout plan for grid placement; this example starts on the ground course.

  • Cut geogrid to the appropriate lengths with precision. Check the grid’s maker for strength and rolling or machine direction, as needed. The required measurements and locations should be referenced to authorized plans.
  • Cut the raised front lip to fit between the lowered front lip and the underside of the body, then roll out the layer over to the excavation region. The excavation site must be entirely compacted and level.
  • After the geogrid is in place, add the following course of blocks on top of it, offsetting them from those below. The vertical seams of the new row should be at least 3 inches (75 mm) from the front edge of the units below and firmly pressed against it. A perfect running bond isn’t required.
  • Examine the retaining wall line for a straight wall. Blocks may be adjusted slightly to create straight lines or smooth, meandering curves.
  • Pull-on the rear of the grid to release any remaining tension. Stake in place before placing wall rock and approved infill soils.

Step 7: Backfill and Compact

  • To backfill the wall rock in the reinforced zone, use approved infill soils. Backfill with blocks or concrete in block cores and 12 inches (300 mm) behind the wall. Use structural fill to backfill with blocks or concrete in the reinforced zone.
  • 3 feet (0.9 m) of wall rock or infill soil within 3 feet (0.9 m) of the wall must be compacted using a mechanical plate compactor.
  • When compaction equipment is needed on top of a geogrid, it should be used carefully.
  • Backfill material should not be placed more than 3 feet (0.9 m) behind a retaining wall. A retaining wall may rotate forward as a result of heavy compaction equipment applied to the top of it.
  • Remove the obstructions and level, align, and batter them as the walls rise. It’s acceptable to shim under bricks to compensate for minute differences, intolerances or an out-of-level base state. Asphalt shingles or geogrid filler are excellent when shims are required. The thickness of each course is limited to 1
  • Remove any additional wall rock and ridges or slag from the top of all AB units. This prepares a smooth surface on which to lay the next course. Most slag will be eliminated by plate compactors working above the block, leaving the block ready for the next course. Slide the block into place as soon as you’ve positioned it to eliminate any slag that may have accumulated during transit.

Step 8: Install Additional Courses

  • Remove the old retaining wall and cap it with an earth retention wall to create the required height, then construct a grid as needed according to the approved plans. Continue on to step 7 for soil retention walls and topsoil installation.
  • Finally, apply 8 in. (200 mm) of impermeable fill on the final lift to finish the wall.
  • Add a beautiful border to your retaining wall to improve the appearance of your house.

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